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International Commercial Arbitration

The guide includes information on locating awards, national laws, treaties, and the like. Includes both electronic and print resources. Adapted from the Harvard Law Library.

Getting Started

Getting Started

This guide discusses the topic of International Commercial Arbitration. International Commercial Arbitration allows private parties the ability to resolve disputes without litigating in a national court. In this guide, researchers should be able to:

  1. locate primary legal materials &
  2. locate secondary source materials.

Treatises, Handbooks, Manuals, Nutshells

Secondary Sources

Treatises, Handbooks, Manuals, Nutshells

Primary Sources - Treaties, Cases, Rules and more...

Treaties, Conventions, Agreements

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES:

Westlaw - Conventions
  • International Commercial Arbitration Treaties (ICA-TREATIES)
    • Contains text of commercial arbitration treaties and related documents.  European coverage begins with 1952. NAFTA coverage begins with 1992. GATT coverage begins with 1994. All other coverage varies by source.

  • International Economic Law Documents (IEL)
    • Contains full text of international agreements, with an introduction and bibliography, and other documents selected by the editors of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Interest Group on International Economic Law. Topics include regulation of international trade; finance and foreign investment; protection of intellectual property rights; frameworks for regional economic organizations; and rules governing international commercial transactions, litigation, and arbitration.

PRINT RESOURCES:

Foreign/National Legislation

Rules

Westlaw: International Arbitration - Rules

  • China International Economic Trade & Arbitration Commission Rules (CIETAC-RULES)
  • Chinese Maritime Arbitration Commission Rules (CMAC-RULES)
  • CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution - Rules (CPR-RULES)
  • Deutsche Institution fur Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit E.V. Arbitration Rules (ARftDIfSE.V.-RULES)
  • Domke: Society of Maritime Arbitrators - Rules (DSMA-RULES
  • Federation Francaise De La Franchise Arbitration Rules (FFDLA-RULES)
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre Rules (HKIARC-RULES)
  • Inter-American Commercial Arbitration Commission - Rules (IACAC-RULES)
  • International Centre for Dispute Resolution Rules (ICDR-RULES)
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes - Rules (ICSID-RULES)
  • International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes - Historical Rules (ICSID-HRULES)
  • International Chamber of Commerce - Rules (ICC-RULES)
  • International Energy Agency - Rules (IEA-RULES)
  • Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia Rules (IAMA-RULES)
  • Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia Fast-Track Rules (IAMAFT-RULES)
  • Japan Commercial Arbitration Association Rules (JCAA-RULES)
  • London Court of International Arbitration Rules (LCIA-RULES)
  • London Court of International Arbitration Historic Rules (LCIA-HRULES)
  • Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa Rules (OHBLA-RULES)
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration - Rules (PCA-RULES)
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules (SIAC-RULES)
  • Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Rules (SCC-RULES)
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law - Rules (UNCITRAL-RULES)
  • Vienna International Arbitral Centre - Rules (VIAC-RULES)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization - Rules (WIPO-RULES)

Previously On Westlaw

  • International Commercial Arbitration - Rules (ICA-RULES)
  • International Commercial Arbitration - Historical Rules (ICA-HRULES)
  • American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution - Rules (AAAICDR-RULES)
  • American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution - Historical Rules (AAAICDR-HRULES)
  • Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre for the Americas - Rules (CAMCA-RULES)
  • International Bar Association - Rules (IBA-RULES)

Rules in Print

Cases & Awards

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES:

International Investment Arbitration & Public Policy (Osgoode Hall Law School of York University)
  • Open access database of known arbitration cases decided under investment treaties.

  • Organization of investment arbitration cases by policy area (e.g. agriculture, environmental protection, taxation).

  • Compilation of the appointment records of individual arbitrators who have sat in investment arbitration cases.

  • Other information and commentary on the system of international investment arbitration.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment (ICSID) 
  • ICSID is an autonomous international institution established under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States with over one hundred and forty member States. The Convention sets forth ICSID's mandate, organization and core functions. The primary purpose of ICSID is to provide facilities for conciliation and arbitration of international investment disputes.
Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts (CLOUT)
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Secretariat has established a system for collecting and disseminating information on court decisions and arbitral awards relating to the Conventions and Model Laws that have emanated from the work of the Commission. The purpose of the system is to promote international awareness of the legal texts formulated by the Commission and to facilitate uniform interpretation and application of those texts.  There's also an index to CLOUT case abstracts which relate to Model Arbitration Law (MAL) cases, by reference to which articles of the MAL the cases refer.
Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) Database
  • The Database is a collaborative effort between the Institute of International Commercial Law and the Pace Law Library.  Pace database on the CISG and International Commercial Law.

Westlaw - Awards & Case Law

  • International Centre for Dispute Resolution - Arbitration Awards (ICDR-ARBAWARD)

  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes – Awards (ICSID-AWARDS)

  • International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration – Awards (ICC-AWARDS)

  • International Commercial Arbitration – Awards (ICA-AWARDS)

  • Permanent Court of Arbitration Awards (PCA-AWARDS)

  • Society of Maritime Arbitrators Awards (SMA-ARBAWARDS)

  • World Intellectual Property Organization Awards (WIPO-AWARDS)

  • CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution Awards (CPR-AWARDS)

  • National Arbitration Forum Awards (NAF-AWARDS)

  • China International Economic Trade & Arbitration Commission – Awards (CIETAC-AWARDS)

  • International Arbitration – Cases (IA-CASES)

  • International Law - Iran-United States Claims Tribunal Decisions (INT-IRAN)

  • WTO & GATT Panel Decisions (WTO-DEC)

  • North American Free Trade Agreement Awards (NAFTA-AWARDS)

  • London Court of International Arbitration Awards (LCIA-AWARDS)

 PRINT RESOURCES:

International & Regional Institutions

Journal indexes and full-text databases

Arbitration Journals

Westlaw: International Arbitration - Journals & Law Reviews

  • European Union International Commercial Arbitration - Journals and Law Reviews (EUICA-JLR)

  • American Review of International Arbitration (AMRIARB)

  • Dispute Resolution Journal (DRJ)

  • International Arbitration Law Review (INTALR)

  • Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal (PEPDRLJ)

  • Vindobona Journal of International Commercial Law & Arbitration (VJICLA)

Harvard Negotiation Law Review

Negotiation Journal 

The ICC International Court of Arbitration Bulletin

  • Bulletin, Supplements, Dossiers and Rules are searchable on the International Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Library, http://www.iccdrl.com/.

Search Interdisciplinary Databases

The following databases cover a variety of fields, including law.

Academic Search Premier

Multidisciplinary index to thousands of popular and scholarly journals, including engineering trade journals, from 1975 to current.

International Political Science Abstracts

Indexes and abstracts articles from leading international political science journals.

PAIS International

Covers global public policy and social issues including health, finance, education, technology, and the environment for the U.S. and abroad. Covers periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and o...

Search for Legal Journals

LegalTrac

Legal periodical index.

Index to Legal Periodicals (1981-Date) / Current Index to Legal Periodicals

Full text of select periodicals, as far back as 1994, in addition to indexing of legal journals, law reviews and monographs. Current awareness service for legal research. Provides subject indexing and listing of tables of contents for more than 570 law journals.

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

Multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in approximately 540 legal journals published worldwide.

Legal Journals Index

Legal Journal Index indexes articles from legal journals published in the United Kingdom and Europe as well as journals covering topics pertaining to the laws of the European Community and its Member States.

Current Awareness: News, Blogs, Newsletters

News & Blogs

Westlaw: International Commercial Arbitration - Current Awareness

  • International Commercial Arbitration - Current Awareness (ICA-CA)
  • As Part of Westlaw International
    • International Commercial Arbitration - At Issue (ICA-ATISSUE)
    • International Commercial Arbitration - News (ICA-NEWS)
    • International Commercial Arbitration: The Watch (ICA-WATCH)
    • International Law Office Commercial Arbitration - Newsletters (ICA-INTLAWNEWS)

ArbitralWomen (http://www.arbitralwomen.org/)

  • Group of professional women from all over the world who are active in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution internationally.
  • The web site is about and by ARBITRALWOMEN, but it is open to everyone.
  • Users can both search for appropriate and qualified dispute resolution practitioners and benefit from the ideas and information offered.

The Kluwer Arbitration blog offers alerts via email

TDM Transnational Dispute Management 

International Arbitration Report 

  • A product of Norton Rose Fulbright

Research Guides & Websites

Why Should You Use Research Guides

These research guides should be helpful by providing background information on this topic, as well as providing links to evaluated resources. The goal is to save researchers time and effort.

(When using another academic institution's guide, be aware that links or call numbers referenced may be specific to that library's collection.)

Research Guides

Step-by-Step Research Example

Step 1: Background Research

Step 1: Background Research

The first step to any research project is informing yourself generally on the topic.

In this example, we want to learn more about arbitration proceedings that specifically involve Chapter 11 of the NAFTA agreement.  
 
Under Chapter 11, a NAFTA Party (Canada, the United States, or Mexico) may not treat investors from another NAFTA Party any differently than they would treat their own nationals, except under very limited and specific circumstances. Investors who have been injured by a NAFTA Party's failure to abide by Chapter 11 can seek to recover for their injuries through an arbitration proceeding.
 
There are several trustworthy sources for introductory information about NAFTA and Chapter 11 for free on the Internet. Below is a very limited list.

Sources for Finding Treaty/Agreement Texts

If your background research did not lead you to the actual text of the treaty or agreement related to your research, you can search for it in the following resources.

Step 2: Secondary Sources

Step 2: Finding Secondary Sources

Once you have some basic information about what NAFTA Chapter 11 is, you'll ready to look for some more detailed scholarly writings on the topic. In this step, you can look for both law review articles and treatises, as described below.

Law Journal Indexes

A great way to look for law review articles is to use a legal journal index. This type of source contains bibliographic records for thousands of journal articles. These searchable records include author, article title, journal title, publication date, subject-specific keywords, and (sometimes) content from the articles themselves (either an abstract or the full text).  

By using an index, rather than simply doing a full-text keyword search in a journal database, you can view a list of highly relevant articles for your topic.

Below are a few legal periodical indexes to try:

Law Journal Library in Westlaw

On the Westlaw Edge homepage, under Content types, click Secondary Sources, then click Law Reviews & Journals. You can enter a simple search in the search box, or click Advanced to perform an advanced search (such as only looking for the appropriate term in the title of an article). Here is an example of that kind of advanced search:

advanced: TI(NAFTA and Chapter and (eleven or "11"))

This will search for all of those words in the title of the article (including either "eleven" or "11"). It returns less than 100 results, sorted by relevance.

Don't forget to click the Citing References tab when you are viewing an article. This displays a list of later (more recent) primary and secondary materials that cite the article you are currently viewing.

Law Journal Library in HeinOnline

HeinOnline's Law Journal Library (IdentiKey credentials required) provides access to an extensive collection of legal journals from around the world.  

The Advanced Search option allows you to search for specific text in the article title. This is a good first option for finding the most relevant articles on this topic. Set up the search so that any spelling variations are accommodated, like this:

HeinOnline screenshot showing the Field Search options

You can also limit on this screen by journal title, date, and publication type.

HeinOnline also has a citation service for journal articles. When you are viewing an article, click on the ScholarCheck button (e.g. ) located on the left hand side of the webpage, next to Contents, to view a list of more recent articles that cite your article.

 

Treatises

At present, you can use the LAWPAC (Upper/Gold) search bar to search for relevant treatises on this topic that are available in the law library's collection. Try entering this text in the Keywords Anywhere box on the LAWPAC Advanced Search screen:

"nafta chapter 11" OR "nafta chapter eleven"

This will return 10 results, sorted by date. You can limit the results list by using the links on the right side of the search results screen.

NOTE: In the future, we can use the UNIFIED BAR. Click on Advanced search and run the same query. Over 800 results will populate. Simply use the All filters button to narrow results by Source type to Books and eBooks by checking the box next to those items. 18 items will populate. 

Notes on finding books:

  • Books in the library are organized by call number. Most, if not all, book are located in the basement of the William A. Wise Law Library.  
  • If the catalog record indicates that it is a reference book, it will be located on the 2nd floor of the law library, nearest the Reference Desk.
  • If the book is in the Depository, click the link to request it. It will be delivered to the law library. Delivery times are inconsistent. 

Google Scholar

Whenever you find a relevant source (either an article or a book), it is also a good idea to do a search for it in Google Scholar. This will allow you to see additional related articles and citing references.  

Google Scholar screenshot highlighting additional related articles and citing references

The major benefit of this is Google Scholar's cross-disciplinary nature, which expands beyond sources that only discuss law. Also, remember that HeinOnline and Google Scholar have started a working partnership

Step 3: Arbitration Documents

Step 3: Finding Arbitration Proceeding Documents

Assume that you have read several law review articles and at least one treatise on this topic, and now you're ready to find some primary sources. Specifically, you want to look at documents from the arbitration proceedings themselves, especially awards but also other relevant rulings.

Here are a few arbitration cases that are cited repeatedly in the NAFTA Chapter 11 literature:

  • Ethyl Corp. v. Canada (proceedings started in 1996)
  • Metalclad v. United Mexican States (proceedings started in 1997)
  • S.D. Myers v. Canada (proceedings started in 1998)
  • Methanex Corp. v. United States (proceedings started in 1999)

NAFTA Claims Website

Historically, prior to July 1, 2020, the easiest place to find documents related to arbitration proceedings for major NAFTA cases, including awards and other rulings, is the NAFTA Claims website: http://www.naftalaw.org. Since July 1, 2020, the USMCA replaced NAFTA. To see run limited searching on the previous website, try Archive.org's WayBack Machine for Naftalaw.org.

For archived documents concerning the NAFTA Investor-State Arbitrations, please visit the State Department Archives

Other Sources for Arbitration Proceeding Documents

Up until this point, the research methods used in this example could easily be adapted to other types of commercial arbitrations.  However, the NAFTA Claims website will not help you if the arbitration documents you are looking for do not involve NAFTA cases.  

Here are some other options for you to try to find these materials:

Step 4: Commentary

Step 4: Commentary

At this point, you may want to review some commentary on what you have found. Two excellent sources for that are KluwerArbitration* and Oxford Public International Law Database, as described below.

*At present, the William A. Wise Law Library does not subscribe to KluwerArbitration. 

Commentary in the Oxford Public International Law Database

Another way to find commentary about a specific arbitral decision or award is to use the Oxford Law Citator.

When you view an arbitration decision or award in the Oxford Reports on International Law, you will see an orange button on the left side of the screen labelled Oxford Law Citator. See below.

Oxford Reports on International Law screenshot highlighting Law Citator button

Click the orange button to view the citator report for the award or decision.

The citator report for this decision is shown below. It includes links to references to this decision that are in documents within the Oxford Law databases. Click a link to view the referencing item.

Screenshot showing the Oxford Law Citator and results for a particular case

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